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Highest flu rates for three years

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Highest flu rates for three years Highest flu rates for three years

This year has seen the highest level of reported flu cases since the 2012 flu season.

PHE figures have shown that in the first week of 2015, the number of general practice consultations for influenza rose to 18.3 per 100,000 patients in England. Influenza consultations also increased in Wales to 23.4 per 100,000 and in Northern Ireland to 26.1 per 100,000. Consultations in Scotland have remained at 18.6 per 100,000 since late last year.

PHE also updated their figures for vaccine uptake. They reported that, as of 9 January, 70 per cent of people aged 65 and over were vaccinated, while under 50 per cent of people under that age have been vaccinated. For children, the figures show that 37 per cent of two year olds, 40 per cent of three year olds, and 32 per cent of all four year olds have been vaccinated.

Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at PHE, said: 'Prevention of the virus is an even better intervention, and it's not too late for people in 'at risk' groups to get the vaccine for free as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital.' At risk groups include children and the elderly.

PHE is also encouraging healthcare workers to get vaccinated, as they could pass on the illness to vulnerable patients.

Professor Nick Phin, head of the respiratory diseases department at PHE, said: 'People in at risk groups who develop symptoms consistent with flu, or if anyone's symptoms persist or become more severe, they should seek medical advice.'

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